From The Scrapbook By Rev. Bill Randall


October 1994

By Dr. Bill Randall

Roger Retires & Goes Camping

One of the factors of growing old is that you tend to have less confidence in your capacity to pass on advice to younger generations.

I’ll explain what I mean. Roger is the age of my son and I have admired his talent as a softball player for many years. A while ago he expressed to me his dissatisfaction with his playing skills. The elbow was rebelling against those long under hand-off-balance throws to first base. The head long dive into the short stop’s hole to stop a screeching grounder was less comfortable; and these seemed to contribute to a difference from high arching homeruns to catchable outfield fly balls is fact, Roger was thinking of retiring.

Now perhaps I should have consoled him by reminding him what a good player he still was. You see, I coached one of the first softball teams in Harvey in the Sirs. Corey’s Sales & Service bought us blue and gold uniforms for players like Omer Jellison, Purdy McGee, Blake and Wayne MacLean, Darrell Murray, Doc Fletcher, Hughie & Blair Watson, and of course, others – but where there are now, in 1994, seventeen teams, I was sometimes hard pressed to get nine players for a game against McAdam or Lawrence Station. However, there were usually some kids hanging around hoping just such a scarcity would give them a chance to break in; and sure enough, one night I needed a third base man This Roger kid was there, so I asked him to play third base. He did, he did well, and he played that position for over thirty years.

But instead of encouraging him to keep on playing I agreed that it might be wise to retire, spend more time with his family, enjoy less hazardous relations. You see, Roger works long hours, grabs quick suppers, heads for the ball game and week-end tournaments sometimes involving six games in two days, so I encouraged retirement.

Now, after Dale’s (Roger’s wife) recounting one of those relaxing hazard-free week-ends, I’m beginning to doubt my wisdom and advice.

They took their trailer and went to Little Duck Lake. Now if you want to get far, far, away from it all, Little Duck Lake is about as remotely private as you could find. There, in the serene beauty and quietude of nature they set up camp. Picnic table overlooking the lake, barbecue gently sizzling the steaks, only the distant call of the loon as communication with the outside world, and the cozy presence of the silently-gliding Canada Jay waiting nearby to share leftovers. Then the lengthening shadows inviting a quite night’s sleep – well, maybe the darkness wasn’t all that secure. Near midnight the totally unexpected flash of automobile headlights stabbing rudely the privacy of their trailer. Who, what, why would anyone else be at Little Duck Lake? Was there danger implied? Roger suggested Dale better go outside and get the axe, as an available weapon of protection. Robed in slippers, nightgown and fear, Dale dares the dangerous darkness.. Then, the weird sounds – were they the dying moans of a strangled person? (Subsequent the investigation explained they were human attempts to call a moose). Still further sounds of restless rustles outside. Might they be skunks, porcupines or bear? Roger suggested it might be wise to go out to the picnic table and bring all their food inside – that is he suggested Dale do it. But, peace came at last and so did the cold. Perhaps it would be wise to turn on the propane furnace. It started, but it only operated a few minutes and then they could smell propane gas! Frantically, they shut it off, but when it came time to get out of bed they felt it would be much more comfortable if they could get the furnace to work again. It worked for a short while and then, the smell again. It was later discovered there was a loose coupling in the gas line and it might well have  that the furnace would have exploded lifting the trailer, Roger and Dale into a home-run arc that would have landed on the other side of Little Duck Lake.

Roger, maybe I made a mistake. Perhaps that Taylor Field isn’t such a dangerous place after all.

Source: Rev. Bill Randall’s “From The Scrapbook Vol. One.”

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